2.1.8 Exceptions for Exterior Paths of Travel

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The Requirements in this Section apply to:
Government of Ontario, Legislative Assembly, and Designated Public Sector Organizations Private / Not-for-Profit Sector Organizations
Large Small
Yes Yes N/A

When designing exterior paths of travel it may not always be possible to meet the minimum standards specified in the Standard due to exceptional site conditions. As such, the Standard recognizes that there can be exceptional conditions where the need to provide accessible public spaces may have to be balanced with other legitimate concerns. In such instances, obligated organizations are expected to meet the requirements of the Standard to the greatest extent possible.


Where an organization can demonstrate that cultural heritage, natural heritage, national historic interest or ecological integrity would be negatively impacted by applying the requirements of the Standard to an exterior path of travel, exceptions may be granted. Exceptions may also be permitted where existing physical or site constraints do not allow for modifications or additions.

Refer to Section 1.8 for a more detailed explanation of exceptions.

Limitations to Exceptions

Exceptions are permitted only for a particular design requirement, and do not extend to any other requirement that applies to the exterior path.


A new city sidewalk is bordered by existing trees that encroach on the sidewalk area, making it impossible to achieve the minimum width requirements of the Standard. If the exception is valid, the width of the sidewalk may be reduced where the trees encroach - but not at other locations. The remainder of the sidewalk must comply with the minimum width requirement of 1,500 mm. The exception relates only to the width reduction and not any other aspect of the sidewalk design.


Illustrated Technical Guide to the Design of Public Spaces